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The "BIGmouth Is My Hero And I Suppose Ted Is Too" Build

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I wish that I had BIGmouthinDC building my theater, but I will be doing the work myself. I have been lurking on the forums for five years, absorbing info and biding my time until my turn came around. I owe a huge thanks to the members who post and share their knowledge so generously here, namely BIGmouth and Ted White. I've honestly searched through thousands of threads to glean knowledge from those two. I've appreciated Dennis' contributions as well, but I am not an audiophile, so my main interests have been in creating a soundproof, decoupled room, and one that I can build myself...so Ted and BIG are my teachers. Ted has already been so helpful to work with in the early phases, and though BIG has no idea who I am, his builds have taught me plenty. Anyway, on to the build!

My basement was previously unfinished. I had almost 29' x 13' to work with, and I decided to dedicate about 23' x13' for the theater, and keep the back 6'x13' split between a dedicated lobby (with component closet) and a half bathroom (I can only imagine how important that toilet will become once the mini-fridge is installed!).

The current HVAC has been moved as best as it could, and the rest has been surrounded in a soffit. I'm paying an HVAC guy to put in a mini-split once the drywall goes up (I'm assuming I should wait for drywall?) The walls are all de-coupled. The ceiling is about 7'9" now, but with DD and hat channel it's going to be a bit low. Because of the room within a room and extra drywall, my dimensions are basically 12' x 22'8" x 7'6". The soffits are on both side walls, and stop about 15' from the front wall. They hold your standard HVAC returns, just under 2 feet deep and no room for lighting. So, this will be your standard 12 foot wide, two-row, five-seat theater, with a reclining HT couch on the back riser and two HT chairs for the first row (these are fantastic Cimematech seats I got off of Craigslist, weirdly, from an NBA All-Star's estate sale). I already own a JVC RS40 and a Carada fixed 110" screen, along with an SVS PB-12 NSD sub, DENON AVR-891 7.1, Focal Chorus 814 fronts and center (surrounds still need purchasing). All my gear is from a previous room and I'm trying not to upgrade any of it...let's see how strong I am!

Here's what I'm planning, and I'd be happy to upload a plan but I can't figure out how to work sketchup at the moment. The stage and screen wall will be built 30" out. The screen isn't AT so I need some room on the sides. I'll treat my front wall to deaden it behind the screen wall. since the screen is 110" 16:9, I would place the first row at about 9' back (11'6" total from front wall) and the second row on top of a riser 15' back (17'6" total). Behind the second row, also on a riser will be a three-seat counter/bar since I have five extra feet or so.

The entire room will be DD/GG (or OSB on first layer). No hush box, open to column/acoustic treatment suggestions. The room is already decoupled and framed. The projector will hang above the second row of seats.

So, here are my planning questions early on, if anyone has a chance to chime in:

1) How high should I go with the riser? Is it worth trying to suspend the ceiling drywall channel from between the joists so that I only lose a 1/2" or so, instead of hanging the channel from the joists directly? It's going to be a tight fit, but I fear this will be a pain in the arse.

2) Is it enough (for a non-audiophile) to just deaden the front wall, deaden the back wall, bass trap the corners, and treat the first points of reflection with panels? Or do I need to decorate the entire room in GOM and AT in the standard way, up to the ear level and batting above? I'd love to do minimal treatments, but I don't want to regret it later.

3) How much of the first layer of drywall should I substitute with OSB? I know it's handy to have an entire first layer of OSB, but besides where the projector will hang, what other areas are handy to do OSB in, and how much more cost/labor am I looking at? (I plan to do all the work other than the drywall and mini-split)

4) Does anyone know a good reference thread for designing a screen wall with a framed-screen (like the Carada) that can include a DIY maksing system (horizontal) and that leaves enough room on the sides for the front towers?

5) If I do decide to do GOM on every wall, how much would I need to budget if I wanted to run fabric channel instead of building frames?

6) I'm planning on lighting the riser with leds or rope, 3 canned lights on the screen, 4 cans above the seats, and 3 cans above the bar (these bar cans will likely be soffited since the projector is dangling there anyway, and that creates less holes in the DD for sound to leak through). Are those four zones enough? Is that too many backer boxes to build?

7) Is it worth it to go to 7.1, or is an audio NOOB likely gonna be happy with a 5.1?

8) Should my wife file divorce papers now, just to get a head start?

My budget from this point forward is only about $16,000, and that isn't much once you think of carpet, drywall, mini-split, and especially acoustic treatments. If anyone has any advice, now is the time -- I'm starting to run electrical and LV wires this week.
Thanks guys!

post #2 of 12
It'll be nice to see this laid out in an image, but I'm a little concerned about the seat placement. First, why is the screen 30" from the front wall if the screen is not AT? The first row of seats at 11'6" back from the wall is right in the middle of the room. That location is almost certain to be in an acoustic null for bass at 25Hz and 74Hz, but a peak at 50Hz - it's not going to be pretty. If you can move that about 2 feet, you'll do much better in that regard.

When you wire, I say wire for 7.4 Feel free to leave out the speakers for now, but the space supports 7.x easily, IMO, and more subs is definitely going to be better (see my first concern).

While I don't support just deciding on a simplified acoustic treatment like that, it seems like a pretty reasonable start. I don't think you need to commit to all fabric walls if that's not what you want (it's not what i want either, so I'm not building that way).

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Fred!

By building a screen wall 30" out, I was sort of hedging my bet. If I move to an acoustically transparent screen in the future, the screen wall can be re-used. And I thought it would give me more sub flexibility (where else can I put subs if I don't have some space behind the screen?).
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
But, having said that, I now realize you're right. So if I move the seats forward so that they're 10' and 16' in a 22'6" room, with speakers at the true front wall, is that better?
post #5 of 12
Re: #8, your wife would be better off arranging an "accident", assuming you're adequately insured, as a divorce would only net her 50% or so.

I'm no expert, but I recommend running conduit to every conceivable speaker and network location. There's a good chance you'll eventually want to expand to include surround back, height, or width channels, or extra subwoofers.
post #6 of 12
I'd push the seats all the way to nine feet. Actually, 8.5 feet is 38% of the room length, and should be as close to ideal as can be. 9 feet is twice the image height for a 110' diagonal and should be nice and immersive, but that's a judgement call.
post #7 of 12
At your budget think about a DIY accoustically transparent screen, SeymourAV and Falcon sell the fabric ala carte
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I can't say that I'm completely opposed to the idea of AT, but since I already have a screen that fits my space well, I'm a bit reluctant. Also, I have very good eyesight and have been able to see the patten in both AT screens I've seen in person (don't know which brand). So if I did go with an AT screen, and if I built the screen wall a couple feet out, I'm back to the problems that Fred described above.

Essentially, I guess the question is, what's the ideal layout for a room just over 12' wide and nearly 23' deep with a door at the back wall?
post #9 of 12
There is no ideal, there is only the compromises you make. My room is similar size, and I have chosen to try to overcome the low frequency problems with multiple subs. I'm building 4 to promote seat to seat consistency. Once the whole seating area responds the same (more or less), you can make good improvements with EQ - assuming you have adequate headroom.

In my case, the room is 21.5 or so, and I put my front row at 12 - about 9.5 feet from an AT screen. It's all compromises.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

If I switch to an AT screen, does that mean I can go slightly larger than the 110" Carada I already have, since there is no need for speakers on the side? Also, I was going to stay 16:9 since 80% of what we watch is HBO/TV/sports, but does the extra width justify wide scope? Finally, I can't emphasize enough that I prioritize video over audio. I actually have bizarrely good eyesight, where I can resolve detail at exactly twice the distance that 20/20 vision can, so I'm worried that the weave will bother me (or will I get used to it?). My hearing, on the other hand, is terrible...so says my wife, anyway.

If I put a bar at the back of the room, and I use an AT screen, I won't be able to move the seats back much. The screen wall will be almost exactly 20 feet from the back wall, so the seats would optimally sit at 9' and 15' back (both rows will recline). And then I'm back to the acoustic problems.

I like Fred's idea to push the seats forward, but then I'm closer to the weave of the screen.
post #11 of 12
Why listen to any of our opinions? order a sample of the fabric and hang it over your current screen and you will have the answers to your video questions. Give Snickers1 (Falcon screens) a shout out and tell him I sent you. He has plenty of scraps laying around.
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 2/2/14 at 1:18pm
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Why listen to any of our opinions? order a sample of the fabric and hang it over your current screen and you will have the answers to your video questions. Give Snickers1 (Falcon screens) a shout out and tell him I sent you. He has plenty of scraps laying around.
I just requested a sample. The other part of my question is, assuming I go with Falcon's screen, where do I put my seats to avoid the bass problems, and how large of a screen should I go with (And does 16:9 become less ideal with the possibility of added width since th speakers are no longer at the size? I need to prewire this week, so it's decision time.

I'm basically asking, if you guys had my space to work with, how would you lay it out given the current projector, seating , and bar area? Assume that I go AT for simplicity's sake.
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